Franklin Countys First News

Legalizing marijuana: ‘The war’s over’

The panel on Marijuana in Maine, from left to right: Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider, Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck, state Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea; state Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington; state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland; and Peter Christ, a retired police captain and founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.


Daily Bulldog - Marijuana in Maine forum from MBTV on Vimeo.

FARMINGTON - Unveiled tonight before a crowd of 100 or so at the forum Marijuana in Maine held at the University of Maine at Farmington was the state's first bill proposed to fully legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.

State Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, holds up her bill's proposal to legalize pot in Maine.

When state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, held up her 22-page draft and announced its intent, the audience applauded. "As of today, I've drafted the first bill in Maine to legalize marijuana," Russell said during the discussion that included Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider, Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck, Jr., state Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, state Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington and Peter Christ, a retired police captain of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which supports the legalization and regulation of all drugs.

Harvell initiated the idea of a forum, which the Daily Bulldog co-sponsored with UMF's Pre-Law Program, to focus on Maine's current medicinal marijuana law, its flaws and where lawmakers should go from here. A 59 percent majority passed the citizen's referendum in 2009 that expanded the medicinal marijuana law in Maine to include pot dispensaries. The first facility opened last week in Frenchville near the Canadian border.

"People have legalized it and the government has recognized it," Harvell said, adding that in continuing to fight the war against marijuana use, we "may lose the war against harder drugs. I feel we need to shift our focus and resources." On Thursday, two bills sponsored by Ben Chipman, U-Portland, who could not attend the forum, sought to reduce penalties for possession but were unanimously rejected by the Legislature's Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, which effectively killed the bills.

Three state reps interested in reforming Maine's marijuana laws are, from left to right: state Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, state Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington and state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland.

Maine Attorney General Schneider explained Maine's current medicinal marijuana law as being "layered on top of Maine's criminal statutes (possession, furnishing, trafficking and cultivation) and on top that, federal law (which bans all marijuana use)," he said. The bottom line, he said, is that "federal law is always enforceable in Maine."

Police Chief Jack Peck said marijuana enforcement in Farmington isn't "a great priority." Last year, the 22 pot possession cases were either dismissed or resolved with a fine of a couple of hundred dollars. "There were no convictions in last five years for pot cultivation.

The new expanded medicinal marijuana dispensary law "is a little confusing for us," Peck admitted, adding he's never even seen a identification card allowing for marijuana prescriptive use. At that, an audience member jumped up and pulled a card out for Peck to a get a look at it.

Sanderson has introduced LD 1296 – “An Act To Amend the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act To Protect Patient Privacy.” The bill seeks to amend the state’s medical marijuana law and includes eliminating the requirement that patients register with the state.

"We're hoping to clean up the law. It's not about marijuana, it's about your rights," Sanderson said. She referred to the law's original intent of "voluntary registration" that was amended by the Legislature to mandate the medical information of registrants go into a data base at the state's Department of Health and Human Services. Her proposed bill includes a provision to keep those records from being released to federal law enforcement. She also objected to the fees attached for both patient and caregivers to register with the state. LD 1296 will probably go to public hearing next month, she said afterward.

Sanderson said she is "not necessarily a proponent of completely legalizing marijuana" and advised those growing it for medicinal use to work with local law enforcement by inviting police to see their growing operation.

Russell argued for legalizing pot outright, providing regulations for use and attaching a 7 percent sales tax on it. Keeping pot illegal is "creating crime by creating a black market," she said. "We are already in defiance of the federal government," she added. Her bill could go to public hearing next month, she said later.

Christ said current drug laws "put police between you and your doctor." Instead of making drugs illegal, he said regulation works. He gave the example of alcohol regulation as one that could work for all drugs.

"Here's a shocker; prohibition doesn't work," Christ said, adding prohibition "creates crime and violence."

Schneider said if Maine were to completely legalize marijuana, federal law would still hold sway over the state and it's likely that where large amounts of marijuana activity is perceived would probably result in bringing the feds to prosecute it.

"As a society we'd be better off if it's legalized," Peck said. "I never fought with anyone stoned. I've never been to a marijuana overdose."

Sanderson said if a citizen's referendum was passed to legalize marijuana, she'd support the voters' decision. But, she warned, "we'd have to be careful how we legalize it."

"Whatever the voters decide, we'll enforce it," Peck said. However, he added, he didn't agree with the idea of legalizing opiates. "I've seen the heart break. I've cried with some of the parents."

Schneider said he was "shocked" at the suggestion of legalizing all drugs without giving any suggestions for how to regulate it," as Christ had suggested earlier.

"We need to shift our focus away from this fight (against marijuana use). This war's over and we need to find a way out of it," Harvell said.

Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider talks with audience members after the forum. At right is Jacob McClure, of Washington, Maine, who is a member of Medicinal Marijuana Caregivers of Maine.

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68 Responses »

  1. It is refreshing to see our lawmakers debate something other than whoopie pies! Legalization is long overdue. Maybe people will finally listen when someone as respected as Chief Peck explains that marijuana is not the cause of violent crimes, in fact quite the opposite. (Much less chance of a wife beating after a smoke as opposed to a bottle of Jack!)
    But the real prize here is tax dollars we desperately need. Not to mention the extra time overburdened police departments would have for real crimes.
    Way to go folks! But please, stop short of making marijuana the "state weed"!!

  2. This is a letter I sent to Rebecca Ryder, president of Franklin Community Health Network (FCHN), March 2, 2011:

    "Dear Rebecca Ryder,

    "According to a recent article in the Sun Journal (3/27/11, p.1) a Farmington resident, Nickolas Stanley, a quadriplegic suffering from spinal muscular atrophy, has been denied medical marijuana by his primary care physician, even though he had been using this substance previously with his doctor's approval. If the article is correct, this breakdown of a doctor/patient relationship was caused by FCHN: 'The Franklin Community Health Network, affiliated with Franklin Memorial Hospital, has decided that its physicians will not be allowed to write marijuana certificates--even for patients they were already treating, like Stanley--until "there is greater clarity from the state on the issue"' (p.4).

    "What does this mean? Are not the voters 'the state'? Did we not make ourselves sufficiently clear in the November 2009 election that we desired more, not less, availability of marijuana to those who needed it for medical purposes? Why would FCHN set itself against the decision of the voters? And why would FCHN seek to prevent its physicians prescribing what they believe is in the best interests of their patients?

    "Please clarify what is going on here. Thank you."

    Licia Kuenning
    "The Occasional Pussycat"

    Over a month later I haver received no answer to this letter. Nickolas Stanley is a Farmington citizen so disabled that he can neither walk nor drive a car, and because of FCHN he is being told that he must go outside Franklin County to get the medicine he needs. Please let FCHN know how you feel about this.

  3. Legalize it - tax it - budget problems solved!!!

  4. Chief Peck is correct. This country needs more forward thinking people like him. The war on drugs has failed. It is time to stop wasting money. People do what they want no matter what the government tells them to do. People should be more concerned with Maine's national reputaton now that we have an idiot, his word, in Augusta.

  5. Good for you Chief Peck for supporting legalization.

  6. The process of criminalizing marijuana was primarily the work of one man, Henry Anslinger. Anslinger was instrumental in creating the "reefer madness" mentality by sensationalizing a few snippets from various police reports, sharing the horrors of how jazz music and pot were a lethal combination, fabricating stories of stoned kids murdering their entire families, telling us that marijuana was causing "white girls" to party with "colored men". In a nutshell he was a racist and a zealot who held a powerful position as head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics for over 30 years.

    His sensationalist tendencies struck enough nerves to have every state under the umbrella of federal criminalization by 1937. From 1952 to 1970, simple possession of any amount of marijuana carried a MANDATORY 2 to 10 year federal prison sentence and up to $20,000 fine. And though those mandatory sentences were dropped, the idea of marijuana being "criminal" stayed in our psyche and in our law books.

    I commend chief Peck for being able to make the distinction between enforcing the law and discussing the law. It is difficult for many law enforcement officers to express views that may question or contradict the laws they are sworn to enforce, often because they (understandably) fear that their integrity will be questioned. LEAP and other organizations like it are often belittled and disowned by the law enforcement community simply because of the fear that associating with them would bring the officer's character into question.

    The irony is that this fear and mentality within the law enforcement community is a primary factor in keeping these silly possession laws on the books. What LEAP should be doing, is focusing on teaching fellow law enforcement officers that it is possible to hold a position contrary to a law, and to still enforce the law dutifully -- and that in fact, as chief Peck has demonstrated, such ability is the epitome of integrity.

    There are over 750,000 arrests each year for marjiuana crimes in this country. I, for one, believe that the energy and money being used to prosecute these crimes could be better used.

  7. In the third to last paragraph, the quote makes it sound as though marijuana is an opiate. It's not, just for the record.

  8. Amen! I think those most terrified by the prospect of legalization are those who are the least educated about the medical benefits of marijuana (and the side effects of the drug.) Discussions have occured for YEARS about the hypocritcal nature of supporting alcohol and tobacco's legal use but not pot!? I think any medical professional in their right mind (and let's not stop there... law enforcement, judges, etc.) that the risks associated with alcohol and tobacco use FAR

  9. oops! FAR outweigh the risks of pot use. Come on! This has been about money for a loooooooooooong time. So, sure, tax it and get Maine out of the hole we are sinking into. It is amazing the lasting influence that one man can have on a nation (Jason's post above). It is time to wake up and realize that this arguement is just plain silly at this point. Total up the number of deaths from tobacco and alcohol use, then compare that with deaths from marijuana use. NO COMPARISON. I am certainly not for the legailization of al drugs, I think that is just plain careless, but my feeling on that is supported by the danger and high risk addiction associated with other, harder drugs. I appreciate Jack Peck being strong enough to point out these differences. I have a sister that is addicted to opiates, and she has just left her life behind. From my experience with marijuana users, they may forget something behind- keys, the remote, etc., but there focus doesn't become how they are going to get their next "fix." I would love to hear some valid arguements against legalizing pot. But hey, if I don't hear any, then I guess we do all feel the same about the issue.

  10. I believe this will actually help Americans especially if Maine shows that marijuana is not dangerous, if people worry about the people under the influence of marijuana then think of marijuana has the happy alcohol because everyone that is drunk usually get violent and when on the streets deadly. I'm more afraid of a drunk driver than high driver because a drunk driver would run a stop sign, a high driver would stop and wait for it to turn green. Marijuana is safe and in some cases helpful some people focus when on marijuana and when drunk your attention span isn't there. Take it from someone who has used marijuana, it has helped me actually focus on homework and has given me ideas and they end up working, if Maine legalizes marijuana I will become a resident ASAP please make this happen

  11. I think the public has spoken! Just look at the overwhelming support. Most people in this area smoke it, know some one who smoke's it or used to smoke it. The lies we have been fed for years from bogus testing in the 60's are obviously not a danger. Think of all the heroin , meth, prescription pills and cocaine we could stop from getting used and sold illegally in our state with money we would save from marijuana convictions . That is the root of most of our crime. Stop useless imprisonment and focus on long term rehabilitation . It is great that people are becoming so vocal about this subject. Check out the documentary -High : the true tale of american marijuana or - The Union. Theses films have some great facts and interesting points!

  12. And if you legalized MDMA, violence is pretty much impossible!

  13. i think it should ONLY be taxed for other purposes then medical use. i dont think its right to "tax" medican. if u get meds from a doctor u dont have to pay taxes on it so y should u pay it on this....

  14. AMEN!!!! I would become a resident also.

  15. Finally, some common sense on the issue!

  16. Did ya hear the rumble? All the deceased Police Officers were rolling in their graves. Just another example of weak republicans giving in to liberals. Go for it republicans, so we can vote you out and replace you with thinkers.

  17. A couple final points:

    Licia, the reason Maine health professionals are wary of actually carrying through on the November 2009 vote is that they are still tied down by Federal law. It may be legal in Maine to use marijuana medically, but it is still illegal under federal law to actually prescribe it to a patient. Federal law specifically defines marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has been determined to have no medicinal value and no legally allowable uses. In other words, a Maine doctor who prescribes marijuana is breaking a federal law. Therefore, most doctors only go as far as "recommending" marijuana to patients in order to stay protected under their First Amendment right to free speech.

    SImilarly, Maine can not simply legalize and start taxing marijuana That would violate federal law as well.

    Therefore, the actions we take at the state level are primarily symbolic at this point. It will take time to make this a national issue and to overcome the criminalization mindset, especially in the Southern states where marijuana possession carries more prison time and fines than many Maine class C crimes. (For example, Florida. where possession of 1 ounce has a sentencing guideline of up to 5 years in prison and a $6,000 fine -- or Texas, where selling a single piece of paraphernalia can carry a 4 year prison sentence and $4,000 fine).

    As for the legalization of opiates and other "hard" drugs -- I make no distinction. Yes, opiates are horribly addictive. But criminalizing addiction has never worked, and will never work. I would argue that the 15 billion dollars we spend each year on the "war on drugs" could be turned into one heck of a public health program to treat and prevent addiction and to reform the pharmaceutical industry.

  18. Hey Vet,
    Were all dead cops killed by crazy smoked up marijuana addicts? Republicans can't think? Do you ever drink alcohol? Thank God we have people like Chief Peck and Lance Harvell that are capable of a thought process. Whatever war you were in must have took a toll...

  19. Jason is hitting the nail on the head! Great response. I could not have said it better. I do think we need some clarity on officer Peck's statement " there were no marijuana cultivation convictions in the last five years". This statement cannot be true? According to the Franklin county records there have been many convictions. Maybe that's on behalf of Farmington PD. The Franklin county sheriffs department has convicted many in the last five years. I wonder how much of our tax dollars go towards the search and seizure of pot? Any idea?

  20. In his remarks Chief Peck made it clear that he was only speaking about cases investigated and brought by the Farmington Police Department. It was noted during the forum that his statistics did not include cases brought either by Franklin County deputies, Maine State Police troopers or MDEA agents.

  21. Thanks Woody , you are a gentlemen and a scholar! Why do people always use this as a forum to bag on republicans? Or bad mouth any political party in a general manor. Can we all be a little less one sided? Balance is necessary in our government.

  22. Lance Harvell compared the scare tactics of the government to the scare tactics of a previous generation on "self-abuse". Folks figured out back then that they were not going to go blind, just as folks today have figured out they are not going to try to fly off tall buildings after smoking demon weed.

    Of course, Rep. Sanderson then asked Lance if he had started wearing glasses lately....

  23. So glad to finally see some Politicians with common sense.
    Maybe we can get all these people appointed to the Federal level.
    Lord knows we need people with common sense in DC.

    The amount of money wasted each year combating Marijuana is ridiculous.
    Think about all the task forces, there pay, there equipment costs, the Millions if not billions wasted each year combating something that should of never been illegal to begin with.

    But nobody wants to open that closet door and let the skeletons out.
    Mr Anslinger was a joke, and everyone can see what he did, and why he did it. Yet year after year nobody wants to say or do anything about it.

    He was a big business man, plain and simple. His goal was to shutdown his competition, and make sure him and his friends had monopoly's in the industry's they were in. Diesel engines were originally designed to run on hemp seed oil. But Mr Anslinger was in oil, no way he could allow that.
    Oh his good friends at Dupont had just started creating synthetic fibers, perfect.
    Lets outlaw Marijuana, then the hemp seed oil issue is solved for me, and the fabric, because most things used hemp back then, would be solved for Dupont.

    All Big Business, nothing more. That is the true reason Marijuana became illegal to begin with.
    It's all there on the books, in black and white for all to see for themselves, yet nobody wants to do anything about it.

    The best part this was made illegal behind closed doors, and even the bill was labeled "The taxation of marijuana". This way it was misleading, and people didnt know exactly what they were signing. The entire bill was drafted up behind closed doors.

    All the claims about how bad marijuana is, most of which came from the Federal Government are mostly ridiculous flat out lies. The scientific and medical community's have debunked those myths years and years ago. Just look at Reefer Madness. Hard to believe our government produced this crap.

    Go look at some of Anslingers notes and what he told our government as to why it has to be illegal. You would be shocked.
    It was because it would cause white woman to sleep with black men. It would cause you to instantly jump out a window. It would cause you to go insane instantly and murder your whole family. It gave black people the idea that they were equal to whites. It caused Mexicans to think they were equal to whites. It produced the devils music also know as Blues.

    I can not believe these were there reasons, and these laws still uphold to this day. If I was a minority I would be outraged that suck racist and biggoted based laws are allowed to stay in effect.

    Wow, those sound like sound, logical, scientifically derived conclusions to outlaw something in this great nation of ours.(sarcasm off) (rant off)

  24. Let's see....who out there wants a teacher high on pot to be teaching your kids.....how about a Police Officer arrives at your frantic call for help and he/she is high on marijuana? What if your Doctor or someone in a hospital ER is high on pot? Go ahead and make pot legal and you will create more problems then you will
    want to deal with. Want your Day Care provider to be high on pot while your child is there? How about your food being prepared by someone high on pot? Maybe the food gets contaminated because the employee skips a step because he/she forgot because of pot? You going to feel safer out there? I doubt it. Remember if pot is legal, you open yourself to possible food contamination, or emergency personal not being prepared to assist you because they are impaired by pot. If pot is legal, then everyone can use it. Think about it. There is nothing here of a political nature. It is a reminder that if everyone can smoke pot then your safety and your childrens safety is at risk. You don't care about your kids or you then you deserve the risks that most people don't want in their lives. Do I think emergency people will be high...no, but it could happen.

  25. VET

    That argument is ridiculous. Just replace "pot" with "alcohol" in the above post. Is THAT OK? Oh, that's right alcohol is legal.

  26. Vet, it is certainly true that the "war on drugs" has cost many a life in the line of duty. Those deaths were not in vain; they were men and women fighting to enforce the laws that they took an oath to uphold. I do not see how changing a law diminishes their service. After all, prior to the 1920's our public servants were fighting to protect the free access, trade, and prescription of these same substances.

    A large percentage of the line of duty deaths in law enforcement have come during operations to enforce prohibition. Many gang related crimes are directly tied to the trade of drugs, and the protection of gang territory. The very reason we have Columbian, Mexican, Afghani, and other "cartels" is because we indirectly created the black market by prohibiting the substances.

    I am not sure why everything has to be about "liberal" or "conservative". But if it is "liberal" to question the effectiveness of a policy that costs $1.7 MILLION per HOUR, 365 days a year...then so be it. If it is "liberal" to want to reduce the risk to our law enforcement officers and provide them with the best tools for dealing with the immediate and long-term results of drug addiction, then so be it. And if it is "liberal" to want to cut the heart out of the drug cartels and bring them to their knees virtually overnight...then so be it.

  27. Vet... what is it that stops the teacher from being drunk on alcohol, or the police officer, or the doctor, etc, etc? You do not give enough credit to people. If marijuana were legal, it does not change policies on substance use or abuse. The high teacher would be dealt with just like a drunk teacher -- neither is tolerable.

    Try to understand, legalization does not mean I am a proponent of drug use. It means I believe that the answer to stopping drug abuse (like alcohol abuse) is to treat it, not criminalize it.

  28. A Vet,

    As much as I commend you for your efforts in whatever war you fought in, your coming off rather ignorant. All of those possibilities in which you just listed are equally likely when under the influence of alcohol. Yet, I have not seen any of these cases to be a reality.
    I can honestly say that I have met, encountered or know people on a personal level who cook, are medics or supervise children while high and it has no effect on them, or those they are working with, by any means. They are able to do their job just as well, if not better, than if they were not high.

  29. Wow, A Vet, DO SOME RESEARCH!!!!!!!!

    You need to look into the crime and death statistics in the countries that have already legalized ALL drugs. Teenage use goes down. Overall use goes down. Violent crime goes down. Domestic abuse goes down. Disease associated with drug use goes down. Do you see a trend here? You CANNOT legislate morality or prohibit normal human behaviors without creating a multitude of additional problems, not the least of which is the complete inability to respect a government that would make, and attempt to enforce such ludicrous laws.

    Dont be an ignoramus, Research first, then Debate.

  30. Come on, Vet. Of course no one wants emergency personnel to be "high on pot" when they arrive at an emergency. I would rather they were high than drunk and under your insanely obscured logic that is already legal. The uneducated manner in which you talk about marijuana seriously makes you sound like you could have written the script to some of those old "reefer madness" movies. Why don't you do yourself and everyone else in Maine a favor and give your logic at least 5 minutes of thought before you post something so ridiculous and un-insightful again.

  31. I know plenty of people would rather smoke a joint than take a sip of alcohol. Plenty of people would rather smoke a blunt than take an advil. Most people would love to be able to light up a bong just for fun, and have it be legal. Whats the issue?

    -one love

  32. I don't know where you get any of your information from Vet but it sounds like the DARE program if you ask me. The DARE program was proven to be ineffective and abolished because it promoted the use of drugs vs curbed them. The most widely used illegal drug in the world is Cannabis. There are currently officers, judges, doctors, lawyers, librarians, architects, historians, artists, musicians, construction workers, labourists of all kinds that currently work or operate when under the influence of Cannabis. By the way... if you are going to continue to try and daemonize it, you can at least call it by what it is... cannabis sativa. The substance that actually effects you are the tetra hyrda cannibinoids found in the crystals and resins of the plant. The word marijuana was used during the 60's and 70's to affiliate it with mexican drug cartels and to make it look worse.

    If you look at the effects listed by a multitude of studies, you would find that over 80% of drivers actually drive more cautiously. They do not space out and smash in to or run over people and they certainly do not take off unless the underlying personality of the driver is already skewed well before the use of the herb. It is a herb by the way. The word drug is used simply to make it look bad.

    Look at something like oil of oregano. It is a herb that is now talked of as a drug because it has positive effects and is marketed by pharmacies. The word drug is being used to allow them to sell it.

    Cannabis has been shown to also have many benefits. This does not make it any less a plant or herb... It is just the medical pharmacies trying to get the names and definitions changed so they can patent it themselves.

    The UK has approved and allowed T.H.C. medication that are derived from the plant but had many negative side effects including nose bleeds, headaches, nausea ect... which begs the question why you would want it made in to a drug vs smoking or eating it as a herb. Well the truth is that natural elements like plants or herbs may not be patented which is why they don't want it legal and the few studies that have ever shown ANY bad effects have been sponsored by pharmacies that produce sedative derived pain medications. Cannabis is the best real pain medication known. Most of these medications have serious and long term health effects including internal bleeding.

    You do not seem to care that the number of impaired drivers pulled over for pharmalogical use has doubled every year since 2000. Police are finally realizing it may not be the joint a person smoked but rather the other substances they have already taken. The pot just didn't help anything.

    One thing I will definitely agree with is that operating machines of any magnitude or driving for that matter is simply a dumb idea when under the influence of ANYTHING.

    But if that is the case... you should be a lot more upset at coffee drinkers that add sugar to their drink and then drive. It has been proven over and over that the parts of the brain stimulated and effected are IDENTICAL to cocaine users.

  33. Great discussion. Thank you to all the personnel who worked to start this type of conversation in our community and make it public.

  34. Personally for all the Money that is spent on the War of drugs. Marijuana is not a Drug, politics, whatever Republicans/Democrats think. We might be in the wrong seat to tax it, I go with people for what they have said of marijuana. There should be no limit on how much we are allowed to use. It has never caused any violence of choice that any of us could think about. One person made it illegal, and it took alot of us to speak out about a Plant that was made. And also, for us to be UA to have clean mind/bodies to work labor ourselves to gain income in this country and elsewhere. Who makes the Law besides God himself. I am not against Marijuana. I have done time for it in a County Jail in Colorado for having less than an oz on School Grounds. It will cause us to be hot in our bodies, but other than that, whether its smoked fused, whatever it may be. It hasn't caused any trouble. Legalize it, for the people that are suffer, from whatever pain. We need help, healing, prayer, things will always work out.

  35. vet is worried about restaurant employees working while under the influence of marijuana... obviously he hasn't worked in many restaurants. the people who cook your food are all stoned! ok, not really. but sometimes pretty close.

  36. Imagine people exercising on "THE POT" , eating on "THE POT" , laughing on" THE POT " fishing on "THE POT". sounds fun! I don't know how they will find time in between looking for a rape victim! Seriously though any substance can be abused but marijuana is safer then alcohol and most prescribed meds. If you haven't figured that out you must live under a big rock on an brainwashed ultra conservative island . These comments are great! Keep em' coming.

  37. Sanderson's bill attempt's to mask the failings and shortcomings of what is hoped will be resolved by the uncontrolled or hidden usage of medical marijuana. In Colorado, only a few physicians have written 85% of the prescriptions. In either instance of a state controlled summary for regulating an uncontrolled substance there is not any provision to measure the cause and or effect in regard to the usage of the substance, or any assurance to the user that the drug will indeed work as prescribed? To that end, it is more than likely that some prescriptions will be written and or filled in error, with little or know recursive action allowed to be taken on behalf of the patient.

  38. Hippie Type, Stoner, Deadbeat, Lowlife or Whatever, all chicanery by the wealthy and Corp. America.
    While you look at the bottom of the totem pole the rich and wealthy laugh at you while they
    keep getting richer. Tax the rich and corps. Stop the attack on the working and poor of America.
    There is a lot of money in legalization of Cannabis/Marijuana/Hemp which we need now more then
    ever. Marijuana is everywhere now, and it's prohibition has not stop the people from growing and using
    it, but it did stop the Hemp industry, which could be a multi billion dollar industry in the USA, or as much
    as Maine can produce for that market. Canada sold over 85% of there Hemp Harvest to the USA which is
    illegal for our farmers to do. Not to smart, nor fair to our farmers considering NAFTA and all, but regardless
    the use of marijuana is as rampant as can be with no regard for the law by most. So the very reason for
    prohibition has been a failure from day one, but got rid of the hemp and medical use, up till now in some
    states, such as ours. Reefer Madness is still with us even though we are surrounded by science and research that proves and negates all the claims against marijuana from the 1930's Wake up Mainers…

  39. Vet - you are outnumbered! (thankfully).

    Republican...Democrat...whatever, that has no bearing. Many liberal old hippies end up becoming republicans the older they get...but they still light up behind closed doors.

    Nice to see Farmington taking a stand and nice to see such a large group of clear headed intelligent responses and supporters. Very encouraging.

  40. A Vet, I am with you. The biggest downside of marijuana being decriminalized is all the mass-holes that are going to move to Maine. Think about guys is that what we want.

  41. With regard to what Mr. Christen had to say, hemp is used for many purposes that have nothing to do with medicinal support or recreational use. I've bought clothing made from hemp fabric - hard to distinguish from cotton or any such fabric, and I'm talking about stylish, wearable clothes (you may be envisioning 'hippie' clothes - but no). Hemp milk is a great substitute for those with milk/soy allergies. Hemp seeds can be used like flax or chia with some of the same benefits.....and the list goes on. We could be putting effort into farming and production; and position our state to be a forerunner in dispeling old myths and turning our economy around.

  42. Jason, it is not true that no doctors in Maine will prescribe marijuana; there are doctors prescribing it and they are not going to jail or being fined. There is also no evidence that FCHN's position is based on federal law. They did not cite federal law when asked about their position by a Sun Journal reporter--they said they were waiting for "clarification from the state." They didn't explain what kind of clarification they thought they needed "from the state," or what state agency they thought they needed it from.

    Please don't make up excuses for them. They should speak for themselves, and a good deal more clearly than they have done so far. They should be held accountable for their actions by us citizens. We should expect them to put their patients' needs first, as any health care provider should do. I have still not had the courtesy of a response from Rebecca Ryder; and once again I urge all of you to make your feelings known to this local organization that is affecting the life of Nickolas Stanley and the lives of everyone in the Farmington area.

  43. Everybody needs to read "The Emperor Wears no Clothes", and realize that those behind the ban on hemp/marajuana are the same that fuel our dependancy on OIL....where does plastic come from, kids? If we were ALLOWED by our "leaders" to produce hemp, that alone would take a big slice out of oil consumption. Seriously, it ahs less to do with the "drug" aspect that you're lead to believe.

  44. Licia,

    Thank you for your response, and your concern for Nick. We both agree that Nick should have access to marijuana. I am not making excuses for FCHN. I wish they would take the risk and challenge the system. What I am doing is trying to explain how it is nearly irrelevant what the people of Maine say until the people of America speak. Here are the facts:

    1. Marijuana is federally classified as a "Schedule I" illegal drug. (http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/scheduling.html)

    2. The Controlled Substances Act specifically prohibits doctors from writing prescriptions for Schedule I drugs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act)

    3. The Controlled Substances Act specifically prohibits marijuana dispensaries from distributing marijuana.

    4. The Controlled Substances Act specifically prohibits citizens - even those with state permission for medical marijuana - from possessing or using marijuana.

    The federal stance that marijuana not be considered medicine has been upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as Gonzales v. Raich (2005). And while it is hard to imagine a federal prosecutor coming after a doctor and/or patient in Farmington, Maine the prosecutor would be be well within his/her right to do so.

    Regardless of what the voters of Maine have said, it is still a tough sell for an organization like FCHN and its individual doctors to willfully violate federal law and expose themselves to increased federal scrutiny or prosecution. They will also likely draw the ire of their insurance companies since the argument could be made that prescribing/recommending "illegal" drugs that must be purchased and used illegally is tantamount to malpractice.

    Instead of chiding FCHN and individual doctors for refusing to commit a federal crime, I would suggest writing to Congressman Michaud and Senators Snowe and Collins and urge them to support and enact legislation that would exempt Maine's medical marijuana program from federal law.

    The fact is that no one should have to violate a federal law to get Nick Stanley his marijuana. And while I am sure there are individuals out there who would take that risk, it is a bit toughter for an organization like FCHN and individual doctors in the public eye to hang themselves out there and jeopardize the progress that is being made.

  45. There is not one single valid reason for Cannabis to be illegal. It is about time to re-legalize this very safe and valuable plant.

  46. not sure i agree with legalizing it but, if it comes to that, the tax should at least be equal to the state cigarette tax. speaking of cigarettes, isn't that how this stuff is consumed. i thought we were attempting to stop smoking for health reasons. since i never used it, not sure just how it works. by the way, we had many other means of entertainment in the 40's.

  47. ~Ed lewis
    There is not a single recorded death anywhere in which the cause was directly attributed to marijuana inhalation.
    Unfortunately the same can't be said for cigarettes.

  48. Cannabis Science™ works with World Authorities on phytocannabinoid science targeting critical illnesses. Adhering to scientific methodologies to develop, produce, and commercialize phytocannabinoid based pharmaceutical products."

    http://www.cannabisscience.com/

  49. Great Idea to Legalize and TAX the bejeezlies out of it. Ed's right...tax it at the level of cigarettes. And Alcohol. And license anyone who sells it, making the license the same cost as a liquor license, and make all dispensaries look like a clean drug store. And anyone who sells it without their license...fine 'em. BIG fines!
    Control the sales, and tax, tax, tax....

  50. Actually, if pot smokers do plenty of deep breathing exercises along with studying karate they will find no difference in their breathing abilities as opposed to attempting to doing these and smoking cigarettes.(Todd McCormick, A Prescription For Pot Peace) Also, there are smoking devices such as vaporizers that are a much cleaner hit and "work by using a gentle heat instead of flame to allow you to inhale marijuana’s active ingredients, THC and CBN. When heated to the temperature range of 180-200° C (356° – 392° F), the marijuana will actually release THC and CBN without burning the plant (which is hard on your lungs)." (http://www.marijuanavaporizers.info/how-does-a-marijuana-vaporizer-work/)

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